1st Edition

Consuming Happiness Aspirational Practices in Global Perspective

Edited By Mehita Iqani Copyright 2023

    This book offers a collection of scholarly writing on the meanings of happiness in relation to consumption.

    The concept of happiness in relation to consumption deserves critical attention. While administrative marketing scholars might take for granted the notion that consumption and brand engagement produces positive affects in consumers, such as enjoyment and thrill, more analysis and theoretical exploration are needed to shed light on what that satisfaction and pleasure means in the context of an increasingly unjust and unequal world. This question is particularly pressing in terms of exploring consumer cultures in the global south. The chapters in this volume explore how material practices link to structures of power and exploitation. Taken together, they offer nuanced insight into what notions of a good and fulfilling life mean both to individual consumers and to the societies in which they participate, especially when those societies are characterised by inequality and poverty alongside wealth and elite consumption. This collection places the spotlight on consumption practices, that is, the various forms of social action including communication and marketing that are implemented in everyday life, in relation to the market economy, with and through it.

    This book will be of great value to students and scholars who are interested in the everyday practices of consumption within a range of fields such as business and management, sociology, media and cultural studies. The chapters in this book were originally published in Consumption Markets & Culture.

    1. Consuming happiness: aspirational practices in/from the margins

    Mehita Iqani

    2. Divine discontent: aspirations and subjective well-being at a time of social mobility and high inequality

    Debra Lynne Shepherd

    3. Prophets making gendered interventions: a feminist discourse analysis of gendered online miracles, advice, advertisements, and testimonies

    Kudzaiishe Peter Vanyoro

    4. "Your boy is a boiii": capturing the consumption of trans joy in the form of synthetic testosterone

    B Camminga and Noam Lubinsky

    5. Performing drag in a pandemic: affect in theory, practice and (potential) political mobilization

    Niall Brennan

    6. Consuming Africa: safari aesthetics in the Johannesburg beauty industry

    Nicky Falkof

    7. Managing sullied pleasure: dining out while black and middle class in South Africa

    Thabisani Ndlovu

    8. Consuming the rich white "Bitch" on The Real Housewives of Johannesburg

    Alexia Smit


    Mehita Iqani is South African Research Chair in Science Communication at Stellenbosch University. Her current research focusses on the links between consumer society, quality of life (happiness), and environmental and planetary sustainability. She is the author and editor of several books on media, consumer culture, luxury, waste, and the global south, the most recent of which include Garbage in Popular Culture (2021), Consumption Media and the Global South (2016), Media Studies: Critical African and Decolonial Approaches (2019), and African Luxury (2019).